Sexpectations: How Often Is Enough?


A number of friends have recently approached me to ask if I have a few moments for a chat.

Nothing unusual about that, you might say. But what if I told you that these friends are male, and they all want to talk about their sex life (or lack of same)? What, then?

The question is always the same. “Kitty,” they plead. “I’m at the end of my tether. If I don’t have sex with her soon, I’m going to lose my mind. What can I do?”

The ‘her’ to which they refer is their wife or long-term girlfriend. It seems their Significant Others have decided, en masse, to refuse to have sex with their partners, and the men are going crazy about it. I can’t say I blame them.

In some cases, this has been going on for months, even years.

One poor soul told me his wife confessed on their wedding night that she just wasn’t into sex that much. He was devastated. He loves his wife dearly and can’t understand why she feels this way. She is beautiful, has a figure to die for, the perfect sense of humour, blah blah blah. In short, she sounds perfect in every way. Except one small thing. She hasn’t had sex with her husband in over six years.

This is an extreme case, among my friends. But I hear of women refusing their husbands for six months or more on a regular basis. I hear stories of holidays abroad with the children when the wife asks for twin beds on arrival at the hotel. I am told tales of them being accused of being a “sex-pest”, or “always wanting it”.

Now, I should point out here that a large majority of my friends are male. A forum thread I found while researching this post confirm that some women feel it too: read here.

But nevertheless, I am plagued by a nagging curiosity. What the hell is going on in these relationships? And, how many times per week/month is ‘normal’ anyway?


Relate, the marriage counselling service, offers some advice on the matter. For all sorts of reasons (becoming parents, stress, mental health issues, etc) it is perfectly normal for a person’s libido, whether male or female, to fluctuate throughout their lives. The key thing is, when you’re in a relationship with someone else, it affects them too, and communication is absolutely critical.

When I asked my friends “and have you talked to her about how you feel?”, invariably the answer is, “Well, erm… No, actually,” or “I can’t seem to find the right time.” At which point, I raise my eyes towards the ceiling and groan.

“What are you telling me for then? You’re not married to me, you fool!” tends to be my stock answer.

Which leads me to suspect that these particular guys are frustrated more with themselves, just for being rubbish at communication in their relationships. Perhaps if they worked on improving that, there wouldn’t be a sex issue at all.

I know to my cost how not communicating properly in a relationship can lead to all sorts of problems, and I also know how external issues and how we feel about ourselves can have a massive impact on how sexy we feel. If we don’t feel sexy, we’re not going to want any sex.

Sex counsellor Robert Weiss writes in the Huffington Post “As long as both partners in a relationship are open about their feelings and physical needs and both are satisfied with the frequency and quality of their sexuality, the couple can not only survive, but thrive.”

I’ve known for some years now that I have a fairly high libido compared to many women of my age (over 40). However, I am also the only one of my female friends who is single right now. In past relationships, I remember frantic periods of fucking like rabbits, followed by periods of relative calm.

I watched a documentary a few months ago on people who identify as asexual. By definition, this means they have no interest in sex and do not feel sexual attraction. In a society that increasingly places so much importance on sexuality, this seems like the last taboo. But these people can continue to have fulfilling, meaningful relationships.

So, how much is ‘not enough’ to you? Are you fulfilled? And, if not, what do you plan to do about it?

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